- How To Find Out If My Identity Has Been Stolen
- What To Do If You Think Your Identity Has Been Stolen
- What Is A Ssn? Facts To Know About Social Security Numbers
- Verifying Your Identity On A Video Call
How To Find Out If My Identity Has Been Stolen – Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal information for fraudulent purposes. This crime can be committed by stealing your credit card information, using your information to obtain medical care in your name, or filing a false tax return.
Identity theft is one of the most dangerous crimes, with serious consequences. It’s no secret that there are many forms of identity theft. This fact makes it difficult to recognize the symptoms if you are a sufferer yourself.
How To Find Out If My Identity Has Been Stolen
While criminals wait for the right moment to strike, you can take immediate action. Check out our guide to preventing identity theft and learn common ways to tell if your identity has been stolen.
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A common red flag is unauthorized financial transactions. Keep a close eye on your bank statements, credit card accounts, and other financial accounts for unexpected charges or withdrawals, even if they are small. If you see purchases you didn’t make or don’t recognize, that’s a clear sign of identity theft.
Another red flag to watch for is receiving unexpected bills or collection notices. If you suddenly start receiving bills for services or products you never purchased, it’s definitely a cause for concern.
Fraudsters can use your personal information to open an account or make a purchase and load you with unknown debt. Even if these signs seem trivial, don’t ignore them. Take them seriously and investigate further to determine if your identity has been compromised.
The overall process of identity theft and recovery generally fits into a consistent three-step pattern. Understanding this scheme is important, as it allows you to spot warning signs quickly.
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Identity theft is the first step when criminals steal your personal data. Fraud, phishing scams, data breaches or hacking are all tools that help thieves collect personal information. Still, data breaches are one of the most popular methods of identity theft.
According to a recent security audit, 2021 was the costliest year in terms of data breaches through phishing attacks in the last 17 years. At this point, thieves have successfully taken your personal data, they haven’t used it yet. However, the next step is actual identity theft.
The second stage of identity theft involves a series of attempts by the thief. After the data is stolen, they evaluate its quality and usability. If they are exploiting your information for their financial gain, it clearly indicates that you are a victim of identity theft.
Some cases of identity theft are immediately recognizable, while others are more complex and often go unreported. Some types of fraud go undetected for long periods of time, especially when targeting children, because they often don’t check their credit reports. However, adults are more likely to see unknown accounts on their credit reports.
What To Do If You Think Your Identity Has Been Stolen
The longer it takes to detect identity theft, the harder it is to fix. Below, we highlight the most popular factors and warning signs that indicate your identity has been stolen.
Your credit report provides information about accounts opened in your name, inquiries made by lenders evaluating your credit history, and any delinquency judgments on unpaid bills. You may find unknown inquiries, unknown accounts or any adverse claims against you.
To access your credit report for free, you can visit AnnualCreditReport.com. In general, you are entitled to a free annual credit report from a major credit bureau like Experian. To ensure thorough credit monitoring, it’s important to check your credit file with all three major credit reporting agencies. This is necessary because some lenders may only report to some of these agencies.
Keeping a close eye on your bank and credit card statements can help you spot any signs of identity fraud. If you’re seeing unauthorized charges on your credit cards or unexplained withdrawals from your bank account, it’s highly likely that someone has accessed your personal information and used it to make fraudulent purchases or withdrawals.
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Being aware of your monthly bills and checking their arrival regularly is an underrated practice. If you suspect a bill hasn’t arrived, it could indicate potential identity theft. This indicates that someone has illegally obtained your information and changed your email address on your account.
In general, your mailbox acts as an effective warning system against identity theft. A common method used by scammers is physical mail theft, where they skim through your mail to access valuable information. Criminals especially focus on official documents and other emails that contain your personal and financial details. However, you can keep criminals one step ahead by purchasing a locked mailbox.
Be sure to remove any unnecessary credit cards from your wallet or purse. It’s best to only carry a credit card or two and a form of identification like your driver’s license when traveling. Also, never keep your Social Security card in your wallet, as it is the number one target for criminals.
To ensure your safety and protect against identity theft, it is extremely important that you always know the location of all your IDs and credit cards. If any of the following items are lost or stolen, you are at risk of identity theft.
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If you notice that your wallet, passport, insurance card or any other identification document is missing, report it to the appropriate authorities as soon as possible.
Beware of fraudsters who can exploit your information to file false tax returns and claim ineligible refunds. Tax identity theft occurs when people misuse your Social Security Number (SSN) and other personal information to file fake tax returns on your behalf with the intent of stealing your tax returns.
Carefully review all notices you receive from the IRS to ensure you are not overlooking important details regarding issues such as unpaid tax liabilities. If you are facing a rejection from the IRS when you are trying to file your tax return, it may indicate that someone has already filed a tax return on your behalf.
Be very careful when receiving calls from credit card companies, debt collectors or service providers. If you receive a suspicious call claiming to be from a bank, it may indicate that someone is trying to apply for a credit card or open a bank account using your identity.
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However, receiving a bunch of unusual emails does not automatically mean that your email account has been hacked, but it should raise your concerns. Data breaches often compromise email and phone numbers, making them perfect targets for identity thieves.
Depending on the situation, you may receive notifications about new accounts created in your name or transactions flagged by your bank or credit card company. Always be aware of unknown devices and unknown verification codes sent to your device, especially if you haven’t asked for it.
Fraudsters target people by hacking bank accounts, emails, or obtaining personal information from the dark web. For companies, data leaks and cyber attacks not only damage their reputation but can also lead to loss of personal data.
As soon as you realize you may be a victim of identity theft, you should take action immediately. While it may take years to discover that your identity has been stolen, the best approach is to take a proactive approach.
Verifying Your Identity On A Video Call
Trying to keep your sensitive data away from scammers isn’t a problem—it’s imperative, especially since identity theft can cost thousands of dollars in financial losses.
Incidents of identity theft have far-reaching consequences, resulting in large fines, non-compliance or refunds, not to mention loss of trust, even for large brands.
For financial companies, especially those handling large amounts of data, the first step to security is Know Your Customer (KYC) verification. B, we provide manually supervised identity verification powered by artificial intelligence and real humans that help you detect identity theft in real time.
Of course, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. However, we invite you to contact us for a free demo to customize ID verification to your needs.
How To Help Prevent Identity Theft: 16 Security Tips
Gabija is a consistent blog writer and the first in-house copywriter to join the startup in 2021. Having a background in journalism, she has always been interested in technology. From employer branding posts to product updates, she covers everything related to the startup and its innovations. The thought of having their identity stolen is a major concern for many Americans. The fear is surprising, given the fact that it is one of the most serious criminal threats – and only growing. Last year alone, $43 billion was lost to identity theft and fraud, affecting 40 million Americans. However, there are ways to survive threats, ways to check if your identity has been stolen—and warning signs.
Identity theft can have serious consequences. The best thing you can do is a) maintain reliable cybersecurity protections and b) make sure you know as soon as possible if you’ve been affected. We encourage readers to visit our new identity protection platform, which is designed to address these challenges.
Trend Micro ID Protection gives you all the tools you need to improve your online privacy and protect against identity theft, fraud and unauthorized access to your online.
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